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Training to Build the Networks We Want at Broadband Bootcamps - Episode 537 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by ILSR Communications Team Lead Sean Gonsalves to talk about the most recent Tribal Broadband Bootcamp, in Gila River. Tribal attendees from across North America came together - some experienced, and others tackling structural broadband inequities in their regions for the first time - came together to meet each other, share lessons learned, and get hands-on experiences with the nuts and bolts about improving connectivity for families that have long been left behind by the private marketplace. With help from representatives from Gila River Telecommunications, attendees learned about deployment technologies, fiber splicing, security, operations, digital inclusion, and more. Christopher and Sean also chat during the show their recent participation at the the digital equity Los Angeles summit, and first urban broadband bootcamp from ILSR.
This show is 27 minutes long and can be played on this page or via Apple Podcasts or the tool of your choice using this feed.
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Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.
Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.
Sean Gonsalves (00:07):
These boot camps give people a real sense of like the physical infrastructure that makes the internet work.
Christopher Mitchell (00:13):
And then it's not scary or intimidating. Right. It actually makes sense. You don't need a PhD to figure it out. Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits podcast from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. And for the first time ever from a diner, <laugh> <laugh>. I'm here in Los Angeles with Sean.
Sean Gonsalves (00:35):
Christopher Mitchell (00:37):
Sean Gonsalves (00:38):
Masto. Sean is what they call me.
Christopher Mitchell (00:39):
Sean, the Bootcamp Master <laugh>.
Sean Gonsalves (00:42):
Okay. After two, I'll take it.
Christopher Mitchell (00:45):
We just had a, we just had a fun week with a lot of events and didn't have time to record a show, cuz Sean, were you busy this week?
Sean Gonsalves (00:54):
No, not at all.
Christopher Mitchell (00:54):
Did you have a moment to think
Sean Gonsalves (00:56):
<Laugh>? Not at all.
Christopher Mitchell (00:58):
We were just running a couple of of events to help people have a better sense of how broadband works and whatnot. And and so we wanted to reflect on that briefly. It's gonna be a short show. So Sean you wanna do a quick recap of what we did this week?
Sean Gonsalves (01:14):
It was our, it was the sixth Tribal Broadband Bootcamp. That's right. Right. Number six. My first,
Christopher Mitchell (01:20):
Technically it was number five.
Sean Gonsalves (01:22):
Christopher Mitchell (01:23):
Because the first one was number zero.
Sean Gonsalves (01:25):
Got it. Got it. So you follow the math. So I, so I went to the sixth, which was actually the fifth, which was actually my first <laugh>
Christopher Mitchell (01:34):
Sean Gonsalves (01:35):
River. At, at Gila River.
Christopher Mitchell (01:37):
At the best hotel we've ever stayed at, possibly.
Sean Gonsalves (01:38):
Oh, for sure. For sure. But it was we were, it was, it, it's a three day and I think it was the most that we've had that we've had it, it was the
Christopher Mitchell (01:48):
Sean Gonsalves (01:49):
In the neighborhood of about 65.
Christopher Mitchell (01:51):
Sean Gonsalves (01:52):
And there were a number of folks from, you know, different tribal nations that were there for me. I'm just gonna go right to the part that I thought was left. The biggest impression on me was just the the attitude of, we've gotta figure this out and even though this stuff can be challenging and difficult, we're gonna push forward and do it anyway. And it was also eye-opening to see how far along some tribal nations have gotten. We should also say, of course, that, you know, tribal communities are among the least, least connected communities in the country. Yeah. but the Healer River community, they run their own telecom operation.
Christopher Mitchell (02:31):
Yeah. They're one of the, they're one of the older ones. They had bought it from the company that eventually became US West. They might have been US West at the time, which became Quest CenturyLink, now Lumen, but they had bought it, I, it's like 26 years ago or something like that. Mm-Hmm.
Sean Gonsalves (02:47):
<Affirmative>. And, and now they're in the process of, I think they're pretty close to building out fiber to the home.
Christopher Mitchell (02:52):
And they're almost done building it out
Sean Gonsalves (02:53):
Right on, on the reservation. And then, and then within the, and it's called G RT I, that stands for Gila
Christopher Mitchell (02:59):
River Telecom Incorporated.
Sean Gonsalves (03:01):
And there's a couple of subsidiaries in within G R T I and one of which is a, a company where they're actually even building out connections outside of Yes. The, the, the, the reservation.
Christopher Mitchell (03:13):
So yeah. That's Avion.
Sean Gonsalves (03:14):
Christopher Mitchell (03:15):
We had so many great people from G RT I that came and helped out with training that supported us that delivered really great background. Like Rachel, they're their security expert. That was, it was fantastic. They had a guy from Alluvion brought their truck mm-hmm. <Affirmative> their splicing truck. So we got to see that and how they lay it out. It was, it was terrific to have that level of support.
Sean Gonsalves (03:39):
Right. And I think, you know, one of the things that makes these work so well is that, I mean, obviously there's, there's talking and people, you know, kind of laying the table, you and others that are there, but there's a lot of interaction. The stations that they were there, the, you know,
Christopher Mitchell (03:52):
The first night we have a dinner and introduction mm-hmm. <Affirmative> the, then the first day that's sort of like, the thing about is like day zero,
Sean Gonsalves (04:00):
Right. <Laugh>, there we
Christopher Mitchell (04:01):
Go. And then we have the first day, and we do crimping RJ 45. So like ethernet cords in order to just get people talking to each other and working with their hands a little bit and building something. And and then we do some digital equity. Then we have a great lunch. Oh, we also had a great breakfast. Really cool. We it's all catered by a woman who has a new catering business, so we are able to support her on the in the, in the reservation mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. and so then we had lunch from different vendors each, each day basically. And then we,
Sean Gonsalves (04:33):
We ate a lot and we ate good. Yeah.
Christopher Mitchell (04:35):
We ate a lot. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, we ate good. And then in the afternoon we talked about fiber. We talked about fiber and planning and stuff like that, and like the basics of that. And then I don't remember what else we did. We did that for a while. We
Sean Gonsalves (04:48):
Christopher Mitchell (04:48):
Then we, there was, there's too much talking, like, I like doing small groups and breakouts. True.
Sean Gonsalves (04:51):
And there were, well, there, well, there were small groups of breakouts. And one thing that I think that, that, one thing that I think is a good element of, of the broadband bootcamp is the, is the presence of national Digital Inclusion Alliance folks. You know, where most of the bootcamp obviously focuses on building networks and operating networks. It is important to, you know include the, the, the other as so to speak, you know, the, you know, beyond access, you know, things around adoption and, and digital skills training and, and, and meeting people where, where they are in terms of even when the infrastructure is there, even when services are there, how to best utilize them, how to you know, educate communities around that. So I thought that was, that, that was good. And I think some of the activities that they provided were, were, you know, folks had fun with that.
Christopher Mitchell (05:39):
Yep. Yes. So then every day we do what we call a tribal broadband case study, where we're digging into, in that case, g rti, I, to help people understand what a tribe has done to build a network or what they're planning to do. So that was most of the first day. And second day we did some more digital equity with Abby and devita, who they just do a great job every
Sean Gonsalves (05:59):
Time. They do, they're a good pair. So
Christopher Mitchell (06:01):
That was terrific. And then for Tuesday, which a lot of times people haven't really thought about it last in this in-depth way of all these different challenges of why different people aren't using it. So one of the things we always hear in our surveys is that people really loved that. But then we went and talked, started talking about operations and operations challenges and things like that, which is a big focus of this event. We didn't do much wireless at this event mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And then we had we had lunch, and then that's when the fun really started. And I'll say that to, you know, like in the sense that like, this is a bootcamp and the idea that we want people to be out doing stuff, touching stuff, you know? And so we had the fiber stations, right. You know, for like all of the, the importance of digital equity and operations.
It is hard to like, use your hands with that stuff. And this is a bootcamp, right? So, so we got out, we did fiber stations, we had four of them. One was touring at the truck and getting a sense of how the truck works. One was getting a sense of of some of the products at the home and how that technology works at the end of the network. Right. With Calx had had a, had a person who worked at the Hela River for a long time. That's right. And he came and, and helped us to understand that there was a station on fiber splicing. Right. Fusion fiber splicing. And then we had the station with with the splicing was with Mark, with, with Mike and Nick
Sean Gonsalves (07:22):
From Merri did
Christopher Mitchell (07:23):
The mm-hmm. <Affirmative> from, from the Merit Network. He did a station on Otdr and other tools and how to clean the tools and keep the fiber clean.
Sean Gonsalves (07:31):
Right. Checking for falls in the fiber and what have you. Yeah.
Christopher Mitchell (07:33):
Yeah. And so those four things were, people really enjoy it. So he had what's called a launch box, which is five kilometers of fiber in a little box lunchbox.
Sean Gonsalves (07:41):
Right. <laugh>, I believe you'll call it the lunchbox.
Christopher Mitchell (07:43):
Yeah. It's a launch box, but it's like a lunchbox. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> five kilometers of fiber in it. Wild. And and that gives you, you can test out the otdr and which is something that just tells you where the faults are or like problems with the fiber. Right. So anyway, those are four things. And it's like every, every like 10 minutes, every, no, it's like every 16 or 17 minutes people would rotate to a different station. Right.
Sean Gonsalves (08:04):
Christopher Mitchell (08:05):
Sean Gonsalves (08:05):
Which probably for some of the stations might not have been long enough. Like I was at the fiber splicing station, which, which to me was the most interesting to see how fiber gets spliced. And what I thought was cool too was that there were a number of folks in the group that had, first of all, I'd never seen it mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and had obviously had never done it, and then jumped right in there and, and, and did it. And, and one woman that was there actually spliced the fiber according to the machine a little bit better than than Mike. So that Oh, really? Yeah. So that, that, yeah. So she took a bow for that. That was, that, that was cool. And I think, you know, which, which reminds me that, you know, when folks were reflecting on the entirety of it, they were, cuz there were a number of people there that worked in adminis, you know, sort of in operations or in administrative or in customer service at, at the Tribal's Telecom. And, and so for the first time, you know, kind of got a real appreciation of, of what was going on out in the field and, and kind of what went into, you know, fixing things when things went wrong or, or, or building things. And so, and I think overall, I think a lot of folks, although I think the survey, they, you know, like people really liked the, the, the, that was like their favorite part and it was also not their favorite
Christopher Mitchell (09:13):
Part. Yeah. So we do surveys to get a sense of how the different parts of the day go. And the fiber splicing stations got the most votes as the most productive part, and also the most votes for the least productive part, which is kind of an interesting split. So it was an interesting line, but this is one of the things that I thought is important. People don't always appreciate, we're bringing in people some of whom have a lot of technical skills, some of whom don't. Some people are said day one of the jobs, some people's day 20. And one of the things we want to accomplish is having people see other aspects of it than, than what they would normally do. Right. Right. So some people are just like, I just wanna work on outside plant. I wanna be outside in a truck. I wanna go around, I wanna build stuff, I wanna fix things. Right. I don't care about how to get an elder online. Right. But we're like, yeah, we should know. Right. We should know about this stuff. Right. And someone who's in on the phones it would help if they have a sense of what you're going into in the field. Yes. And just what, what, what are they actually even doing out there?
Sean Gonsalves (10:06):
Yes. Another aspect of it all is the networking. And I don't mean that in the physical sense, but in, in, in the, in the sense that, you know, we, you know, there were folks there from Hooper Valley, there were folks there from Navajo Nation, there were some folks from different pueblos in New Mexico, Alaska, different people in different tribal nations coming together, meeting each other in most instances, I think for the first time. And just being able to sort of exchange information and like, I, there was a phrase that Matt used in there, which is like, I've made like tons of mistakes and we should build on those mistakes. And so Right.
Christopher Mitchell (10:42):
There's a mountain of mistakes. A
Sean Gonsalves (10:44):
Mountain of mistakes. And I thought that's, that, that was a really good thing. So it's not just about here, you know, here's what to do or how to do things. It was, it was, it was just as valuable if not more valuable to share challenges that people were facing or experiences they had, or mistakes that they made you know, that they can share to, to avoid that,
Christopher Mitchell (11:04):
Some of which aren't even public, you know, like some of this stuff is like, we're, we're talking candidly with each other. Yeah. And like, it's not meant to be shared widely. Yeah. So we did so we did that and then we we're really lucky that the federal program officer Yep.
Sean Gonsalves (11:16):
For Arizona, N T I A mm-hmm. <Affirmative>
Christopher Mitchell (11:19):
Nicole was there and she was great. So she was helping answer questions and talking about what is going on with the different programs and had some great discussions with her throughout it mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. and then on Wednesday, the final day we got together and we did more operations. We did some n t stuff, we with Nicole to finish up additional questions there. We talked about security and and that was, I think, eye-opening for some people. That also was another one where a lot of people were like best. And a few people were like, eh mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. So but so the sort of like, what should you
Sean Gonsalves (11:52):
Christopher Mitchell (11:53):
What are you probably gonna do for real? Right. Like, like, and like the thing, one of the things that I took away was like, she was just terrific. She's like, it's not if you're gonna get hacked, it's when it's what you do, when you're gonna get Yeah. It's when and what you do at that point mm-hmm. <Affirmative> because it's gonna happen. Yes. That's the nature of, of where we are. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>
Sean Gonsalves (12:10):
At this point. Mm-Hmm.
Christopher Mitchell (12:10):
<Affirmative> mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. So, so anyway, that was, it was great. It was inspiring. And and I mean, one of the things that I always love is when I see people step up and one of the women who had not ever spliced before, she someone who'd been working for a long time at the Hona Optum, and she hadn't not really done technical things before, but on the third day when Nick had to take a call and there was a, a break and people wanted to displace, she started teaching them and she had one day of experience. Right. And she just got up there and started teaching 'em. Right. And I love that so much when I see that happen. Right. Like, and and so I'm just, I'm, I'm so excited at these events and it was the largest one yet. It was so well supported by the people there working working for the tribe at district four at the service center. And and it was great. And I think there's talk about doing more. I mean, I, I would love to do one with Hopi Telecom, another one of the older telecoms that's finding its way now mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and so they seemed like they were enthusiastic about that mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. and yeah. I mean, there's just so many great people that are doing really cool things.
Sean Gonsalves (13:17):
Christopher Mitchell (13:18):
And well, I, I showed you, I think one of the survey results, I just love this so much. Like, there is, there's one that I showed you, but there was multiple people who were like, I didn't think this event would be for me. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, you know, like, I think sometimes these are people who are told by their bosses that they're coming Right.
Sean Gonsalves (13:32):
<Laugh> and they were fallen told. Yeah,
Christopher Mitchell (13:35):
Exactly. And, and they were like, I, I thought it would just be awkward and I wouldn't fit in. And they were like, and this was great. Like, I really learned a lot. I I met people. Like, I just felt really welcomed. That's so exciting when I hear that from people. Like, I know that that's good. And then the other thing was, and we've heard this from several people, are like, I thought it was gonna be like a conference. I thought I had my laptop and sneak away a bunch of times. But like, I didn't even think about anything else. Like, I
Sean Gonsalves (13:57):
Was just, I mean, folks, folks were super engaged. Which, you know, when you're talking about, you know, technology that you know, many people find, you know, mystical or, or, or, or you know, at least in their brains is too complicated. And to see folks engage like that, and I think that's actually one of the values of these bootcamps too, is that it does demystify, I think and, and, and kind of, you know, eases some of the anxiety that some people have around dealing with, you know, feeling like, ah, I don't know enough about technology. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And so I think that's another real value that these things have.
Christopher Mitchell (14:31):
So let's fast forward then. So Wednesday we wrap up. Yep. We go and get some, we have some great food. Yep. And then we got up super early, super
Sean Gonsalves (14:42):
Christopher Mitchell (14:43):
<Laugh> flew in separate planes
Sean Gonsalves (14:45):
Yep. To LA and somehow I beat you to LA even though you took off sooner than I Yeah. <Laugh>, I don't know.
Christopher Mitchell (14:51):
Sean Gonsalves (14:51):
I don't know if your plane was flapping the wings.
Christopher Mitchell (14:54):
It's cuz I was on it. I weighed down.
Sean Gonsalves (14:55):
Christopher Mitchell (14:56):
<Laugh>. So, so we get here, we collect and then we, we get to the next event, which is a digital equity summit. Yes. In LA organized by by the Digital Equity Coalition. CCF, we talked, we talked with Shayna in the past about this mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, that was great. I don't wanna spend ton of time rehashing it. You're gonna write a story about it. That's right. Maybe we'll get posted before this show. Maybe not. We'll see. But like, what's remarkable is, and people should check out this story, that Sean's gonna, it's gonna be a headline story on mun networks.org about this. But the CPUC Yes. The regulatory body of California develop these maps of priority areas for broadband and they are not good.
Sean Gonsalves (15:34):
That's an understatement.
Christopher Mitchell (15:36):
The maps are bizarre in that they highlight the Walt wealthy neighborhoods in Los Angeles County as a priority and, and put a low priority on connecting some of the highest poverty areas that don't even have good connections. Right. Right. I mean, we've talked about this in relation to Baltimore, right. Where, you know, Comcast serves every address. They say more or less, and yet tons of people don't have connections. And we know that that's the case here. It's, it's, it seems like there's actually areas where like Charter isn't even claiming to offer service and they're still not labeled as a priority for the CPUC. Right. It looks to me like it doesn't, I mean, it doesn't look to me like the CPUC is like, we don't value that. It doesn't to me like literally something went wrong in the process.
Sean Gonsalves (16:18):
Right. <laugh>. Right. And, you know, hats off to the two data crunchers that came from the CPU u c to sit there and kind of, you know, have to kind of take the brunt of folks being, you know,
Christopher Mitchell (16:28):
Those were Michael and Michael who one of whom is an advisor to the the chair of the commission. And so they're, they've been around for a long time, I think, you know, they're representing the commission and so they mostly were able to listen to that and explain the position. But I, I, I guess I don't want us to get lost in this. Right. But like, it's just something people should be aware of and check out for Sure. There's this question of what, what, what areas are gonna be prioritized and it is not reflective of what I think a normal person would think of as a need to Right. What we should be prioritizing. So I think we're all hoping that the CPUC will will reconsider those maps and come out with something that is not only more accurate according to a normal person, but I think in fitting with the statute mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, which, which looks, which asked them to consider issues like poverty.
Sean Gonsalves (17:15):
Right. You know, and one aspect of the summit though that I thought was really was, was really cool is that most of it wasn't about, you know, things that were wrong. And certainly, you know, those maps need to be addressed and, and and reflect reality which they don't currently do to good of a job. But they were also celebrating, you know, different victories. Including, you know, LA County right now is really starting to build out in certain areas and underserved and unserved areas within some of these c you know, neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Where we are now, by the way, we're in like a diner that looks like a scene out of Pulp Fiction. But there was just a, there, there was just a lot of energy around what can be done. And it was, it was, it was great to see so many city officials, county officials digital equity advocates in various coalitions coming together and having, and, and, and sort of, you know, wanting to really, really have already built some momentum and, and working with both the county and the city and figuring out what kind of assets they have and, and how to move forward and, and that, and I think they all have a sense of we can do this. Yes, it's challenging. Yes, there's all these sort of difficulties that we're running up against, but this is something that isn't too big of a job. It's something that that can be done. And so to me that was also inspiring. There's
Christopher Mitchell (18:38):
A lot more to be said, but we're gonna leave it there to get to the, the, today, today's event, which was the first what we think it was urban, but they don't have to be urban. But this happens to be Los Angeles, a digital equity bootcamp Yep. In which we brought together people and we did it with, I mean, we did it like Shayna was able to get a lot of people mm-hmm. <Affirmative> to come in. We had about 30 people I think is what I counted. Yep. And hosted at the Bureau of
Sean Gonsalves (19:03):
Street Street Lighting,
Christopher Mitchell (19:04):
Which is really doing great work, great agency in Los Angeles the city of Los Angeles. So like, this was a, an event that was hosted in the city of Los Angeles, the Bureau of Street Lighting, which is for the city, but a lot of people that came were interested in the county of Los Angeles being fixed up. And then it was also supported by Michelson 20MM. And they have some just terrific program officers one of whom is trying very hard not to laugh here. But Michelson 20MM was one of the first supporters of the tribal broadband Bootcamp and and made this one possible also supporting this digital equity bootcamp. And we're super thankful for the support and for attending. That's one of the reasons why we see stuff happening here That's right. Is because of funders like CCF and Michelson 20MM. I think focusing on smart strategies, long-term strategies, not just trying to like, you know, get money out the door to on strategies that might not serve the test, save the test of time.
Sean Gonsalves (20:07):
Right. And being on brand, not wanting to necessarily be in the spotlight or, or being out front on things <laugh> because the work is more important. And, and that's, that's that, that, that's good. No, today was the first technically, or is this, was it zero or 0.5. Okay. We'll call it one. Okay. It's the first urban digital bootcamp and
Christopher Mitchell (20:28):
Sean Gonsalves (20:28):
Us. From us. Yeah. Right. Exactly. We don't make sound like we invented these things.
Christopher Mitchell (20:32):
<Laugh>, nobody ever thought to get people together and help them to educate them. <Laugh>
Sean Gonsalves (20:35):
Ever. It's never been done before.
Christopher Mitchell (20:37):
Inspire people to learn something new in a personal environment,
Sean Gonsalves (20:40):
You know, and I certainly learned, you know, I learned just as much as anybody there just in terms of, you know, the Bureau Street Street lighting and it being sort of this department within the Public Works Department.
Christopher Mitchell (20:49):
I think we'll be doing a show with them to Yeah. It's this, yeah. Yeah. Because, so the Department of Street Lighting has conduit and they're, they're ambitious about using that to make Los Angeles a better place beyond just having great lighting and small cells and things like that from at t and Verizon and whatnot. Very proactive. And it's exciting. But so we did this thing, it's a work in progress. People were great. They had good questions. I felt like it was a little too luxury, but we still had a bunch of like fiber and conduit Right. And devices to show people how things come together.
Sean Gonsalves (21:21):
Got to see some equipment and some machinery.
Christopher Mitchell (21:23):
Oh yeah. The Bureau of Street Lighting has a, has a horizontal boring machine. And so they, they were showing us like that how it works after we, we showed the video of, of Travis's network in the south in Minneapolis where we have that we have some video of that. And people got a sense of how fiber optics work. Right. And, and some of the business model concerns some of the, the challenges how wireless fits in. And, you know, it's a day of people, many of whom are, are involved at like a political level or at some level it's not technical. And they got to have a day where they could learn a lot about the technical aspects of it. Right. That'll help fill them in for how this stuff all fits together.
Sean Gonsalves (22:02):
Right. Which is important because, you know, they're ob you know, obviously they're operating in an environment with, you know, juggling a lot of things, dealing with a lot of infrastructure challenges and, and issues within, you know, to say nothing of the politics that, you know, that, that are often involved. So, so it was good. It was, and and again, I was actually surprised how well intended, and even with you speaking, I didn't see anybody fall asleep.
Christopher Mitchell (22:24):
Yeah. No, I tried. I tried. There was some heavy eyelids once or twice
Sean Gonsalves (22:28):
Christopher Mitchell (22:28):
So yeah, I did a lot of speaking and like, it's like, it's a lot of, I mean, you know, it was like there's some PowerPoint and then there's like some of the actual physical stuff. And then we went out and people could see a vault out in the sidewalk Right. Where that was an electrical vault, but have a sense of how it works underground and just giving people a sense of like, the internet runs on fiber optics, how the, the data goes from place to place, the different like ways that you can do it. And the answer to everything is, it depends. Yeah. from the costs Yeah. To the time it'll take to do anything. Right. And just giving them a sense of like, all right, if we were gonna build a fiber network, these are the things we'd have to think about. Right. You know, and everything from like how polls work to underground boring and the business model considerations.
Sean Gonsalves (23:14):
The other value I think of these, of these boot camps, whether they're tribal boot camps or they're urban digital boot camps, is that I think it gives people a sense of, well, and this was certainly the case for me, like prior to getting into this work, I think with the way a lot of people think about the internet is this thing that's like floating in the air. Right. And I think these boot camps give people a real sense of like the physical infrastructure that makes the internet work,
Christopher Mitchell (23:37):
And then it's not scary or intimidating. Right. It actually makes
Sean Gonsalves (23:40):
Sense. Right. To know you
Christopher Mitchell (23:42):
Don't need a PhD to figure it out. Right. You need like, you know, as low as a few hours with some guy that likes to talk <laugh>
Sean Gonsalves (23:50):
Christopher Mitchell (23:51):
Hours, a few hours, <laugh>. I mean, you can get more with more
Sean Gonsalves (23:55):
Hours. That's true. That's true.
Christopher Mitchell (23:57):
Yeah. And, and that's one of the things that I think is important to communicate is that, you know, I think a lot of people are feeling like this internet thing is so complicated when the at and t or Comcast or Charter to figure it out. No. Like the internet more or less does this thing. You want to build a network for your area, you connect some people, you gotta figure out how to share that with other people in order to, how to share that network and connect other networks so stuff people can figure out. Right. And the challenge is how to keep it alive and an operating and, and that gets, stuff gets difficult, but none of this stuff is, is something that requires like years of study. You know, you want to have people that have experience with it, but like you, there's no degree in like building an internet. <Laugh>. There's a lot that happened this week. It was a great week of talking with people. And I feel like, so I'm gonna be going to San Antonio next week with Deanne, and we're gonna do the second digital equity bootcamp. And we're gonna keep learning lessons. We're gonna be talking with lots of folks over the, the year I hope, and doing more of these
Sean Gonsalves (25:02):
And coming and coming to a city near you, I hope. Right, right. I mean, it's, I always wanted to say that
Christopher Mitchell (25:07):
<Laugh> <laugh>, but we do, we wanna, we wanna supercharge this, right? There's a lot of people who are trying to do good work. Some of them are new to broadband, some of 'em aren't, but I feel like we're in a place where we can share a little bit more knowledge. You know, we're not the best experts and if someone else is gonna be able to like, work with all these folks and do the better, I, I hope they'll step up. I'm not saying I'm the best at this, but like, we're trying to do something and, and it seems like it's helping. So that's where we're coming from. That's where we're going. Yes. Excellent. Thank you, Sean.
Sean Gonsalves (25:34):
Oh, I love it.
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